Blog

5 Ways Rural Hospitals Are Beating the Odds

Rural hospitals are critical to the communities they serve, but in many areas their role is changing. Demographics tell the story. Patients tend to be older, and many are uninsured. Populations are declining. The decreases result in fewer inpatient admissions, but they have not reduced the need for emergency care or primary care physicians. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 20% of the U.S. population is rural, but only 12% of primary care physicians are working in rural areas — and their numbers per capita are declining.

All of these...


MORE >

Blog

How to Improve Rural Healthcare Delivery

Rural and community hospitals are in a unique position to meet the healthcare needs of the communities they serve. They are also especially vulnerable to the types of challenges that significantly impact operations and long-term financial viability. To maintain or regain a position of strength, here are some tips for improving access to care and delivery of services.

Cater to Market Needs

Use market demographics and payer mix data to drive a strategic approach to new services and program offerings. These market-specific ideas have worked for CHC client hospitals:

Yoakum...

MORE >
Hospital Risk Management

Blog

Foundational Principles and Best Practices for Hospital Risk Management

When an effective hospital risk management program is in place, the most critical element—maintaining a culture focused on patient safety—is intangible. Safety culture is a shared belief among the entire hospital staff that safety is important, and a shared responsibility.

By definition, safety culture is part of organizational culture and is upheld by staff at all levels and in every department. Risk management is not just a clinical concern. Everyone contributes. Maintenance workers identify and remove trip hazards in and around the facility. Housekeeping plays a vital role in infection...


MORE >

Blog

Three Ways Rural Hospitals Can Reverse Financial Distress

Thin margins have long been a reality for most rural hospitals, but a worsening array of issues—from increasing charity care and bad debt to declining reimbursements and rural populations—have forced growing numbers of them into financial distress. Despite today’s challenging operating environment, many rural hospitals across the country are using a practical approach to get turned around before bankruptcy or closure become imminent threats.

Step 1: AWARENESS

Know the signs and symptoms of declining financial health

Certain financial indicators are clear signs that “business as usual” isn’t working and course...


MORE >

Blog

10 Ways to Improve Hospital Financial Performance Through Productivity Management

The transition to value-based care has required hospitals to improve patient experiences and outcomes, all at a lower cost. In this model, hospitals are responsible for the cost differential, so the urgency around hospital financial performance improvement has intensified. One of the biggest opportunities for hospitals is managing staff productivity, which means maintaining the right number and mix of all staff based on patient diagnoses and volume. Optimizing productivity is paramount because labor is usually the greatest expense for hospitals.

In CHC’s experience, almost every hospital has room to improve...


MORE >
John Yeary, CEO, Freestone Medical Center

Blog

Service Isn’t Seasonal: Give Back to the Community All Year Round

GUEST BLOG

By John Yeary, CEO, Freestone Medical Center

The holidays are a time for giving and gathering. However, for hospitals, community involvement and giving back should be year-round priorities. This is especially true for hospitals serving small, tight-knit communities.

The CEO should set the example. For my part, as chief executive of Freestone Medical Center in Fairfield, Texas, I started simply by joining the Rotary Club. I’ve since found that each connection I make tends to create others, developing synergies that benefit both the hospital and the community. The...


MORE >

Blog

Supply Chain Savings Support Mission-Critical Objectives

Supply costs are one of the fastest-growing cost centers for hospitals. These spiraling expenses tend to hit community-based hospitals hard because many don’t wield enough purchasing power to command preferred pricing. Other hospitals, though larger or part of a health system, face unique supply chain challenges and concerns despite their greater purchasing power.

Holding the line on supply chain costs is, or should be, a top priority for community hospitals of all sizes. By reducing supply costs and better managing the supply chain, a hospital can expand its savings margin...


MORE >

Blog

What Would We Do Without Local Medical Care?

by Regina Keilers, Publisher, Fayette County Record, La Grange, Texas

I found myself in need of medical care again recently. The details of what was wrong are not really the important part of the story, what is important is how I was cared for.

I had a small spot on my arm (probably a bug bite) that was red and seemed to possibly be infected. I put some antibiotic cream on it and covered it up hop-ing that would take care of it. After a couple of days, (on a...


MORE >
Will Community Hospitals Stand the Test of Time?

Blog

Will Your Hospital Stand the Test of Time?

Rural Hospitals Must Take Action to Right Themselves

Time is of the essence for community and rural hospitals. Since 2010, 88 of them have shut down, with more closures to come. Immediate action is required to help others avoid the same fate. Employees, patients and rural communities depend on it.

An operational assessment is often the first step to improving a hospital’s prospects. This process evaluates strategy, operations, staffing, supply chain, revenue cycle and leadership with the aim of reducing costs and increasing revenue—the tried-and-true formula for financial solvency.

Operational...


MORE >

Blog

Squeaky-Wheel IT vs. Enterprise IT: A Better Approach to Information Technology for Community Hospitals

It is time to think of IT differently—not as a business function but as a business partner with the same business objectives as your healthcare organization as a whole. That means strategic business goals should drive IT decisions. In healthcare organizations, the ultimate business goals are delivering superior patient care and improving outcomes. IT exists principally to support those and other goals.

Understanding IT in terms of a business partnership drives down costs. The main drivers of IT costs can be a “hard sell” by vendors to executives and physicians...


MORE >